31 December 2014

3 Bloggers, 5 Movies, 1 New Year's Blog-Party: END OF DAYS / GET CRAZY / THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE / NEW YEAR'S EVIL / FEAR ITSELF: NEW YEAR'S DAY

In April 2014, my friend Craig Edwards predicted that my little site would reach a million pageviews this year - and he was right! Three days ago, the Horror Movie Diary actually passed the incredible 1,000,000 mark!!! *woohoo*

To celebrate this occassion, I invited two of my bestest blog buddies for a very special New Year's post: Craig Edwards from "Let's Get Out Of Here" and Alec Pridgen from "Mondo Bizarro". The three of us, we're rambling about various New Year's Eve themed films from the 70s to the 00s. Pull out the bubbly, pull out the salmon, light the fireworks and party hard. It's 2015, bitches!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!





Maynard ends all Days:

END OF DAYS

German Title:
End of Days - Nacht ohne Morgen

USA, 1999
Director: Peter Hyams

7/10








 From 1982 ("Conan The Barbarian") to 1994 ("True Lies"), Arnold Schwarzenegger was the greatest and most impressive action hero of all time, delivering one fun performance, one badass flick after the other. Then, between 1995 and 1997 the awesomeness ended and his career went into decline after starring in mediocre comedies ("Junior", "Jingle all the Way") and underwhelming big budget box office failures ("Eraser", "Batman & Robin"). Even worse, he had to stop acting for a while because of a heart surgery in 1997 to replace a defective, congenital aortic heart valve.


He finally returned in 1999 with one of the oddest films of his entire career: "End of Days", a slightly unique blend of action, horror-thriller and fantasy, following alcoholic atheist ex-cop Jericho Cane (cool name!) who tries to stop Satan himself from finding and mating with his chosen bride on New Year's Eve which would bring Hell onto Earth...

Originally, the film was going to be directed by music video director Marcus Nispel [from a script by Andrew W. Marlowe ("Hollow Man", "Air Force One")]. However, after creative differences and budget problems, Nispel left the project (he made his directorial debut in 2003 with the Michael Bay produced remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), and got replaced with legendary science-fiction / action director Peter Hyams ("Outland", "2010", "Timecop").


"End of Days" is obviously far from being one of Arnie's greatest efforts, but compared to what he did in the late 90s, as well as to the few lamefests he shot in the early 00s before he became Governor, it's certainly his most unusual, most interesting movie, not just beause it's pretty much the only horror-related film he ever did, but also because it's grittier and more grim than any of his other films, a bit in the vein of "Se7en" or "8MM", thanks to the superb photography which was done by Hyams himself.

There's lots of gripping tension and badass action going on - Love the insane opening with the assassinating priest or the breathtaking sequence with the subway crash - but there's also a very decent amount of eerie chills and thrills (satanic rituals, guy with sewn up eyes), lots of terrific kills (death by crucifix, torn out heart), blood, sex, fire, explosions and at least one scene (ceiling crucifixion) that reminded a bit of my beloved "The Exorcist III", at least in tone and style.


Schwarzenegger's performance is solid as always, delivering many fabulous one-liners ("You're a fucking choir boy compared to me! A CHOIR BOY!" / "Between your faith and my Glock nine millimeter, I'll take the Glock.") and highly amusing scenes, such as the one where he puts a slice of pizza, Chinese food, coffee, booze and a pepto-Bismol in a blender, because "They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day." I laughed my ass off!

Also, more great performances by Gabriel Byrne as Lucifer ("Something good happens, 'It's His will.' Something bad happens, 'He moves in mysterious ways.'"), Kevin Pollak as Arnie's buddy ("You're bleeding!" - "Of course I'm bleeding! You fuckin' shot me!"), Robin Tunney as Satan's bride, Udo Kier as Satan's best friend, Rod Steiger as priest, and cool-as-always CCH Pounder as detective.
Splendid music by John Debney ("I Know What You Did Last Summer"), and a rocking soundtrack incl. songs by The Prodigy, Rob Zombie, Korn or Limp Bizkit + "Oh My God", the first original Guns N' Roses tune in seven years.


There's some bad stuff too, like abysmal CGI effects, the rather ridiculous "Arnie cries" scene which just doesn't work, some weird editing, some far-fetched scenes / dialogue and an ending that is simply underwhelming (even though it's unique in Arnie's career because [SPOILER] his character actually dies) - but aside from that, "End of Days" is a fun way to celebrate the end of days...
um, the end of 2014 ;-)

Wiki ~ Imdb



Craig does a Threesome:

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 is amazing for all! While we gear up for it - I thought I'd throw together some thoughts on three of my favorite New Year's movies for my guest appearance here!
 
1. Get Crazy (1983)

I found this movie on cable a million years ago - my buddy's HBO, specifically. We didn't have cable out in the boonies where I lived, but my movie pal Richard had it - and we started to see this preview for a wild looking movie about a rock concert. I took a VHS tape over to my brother's - who had both HBO and a VCR - which Richard's house lacked. I set up a timer recording and caught this movie
- Get Crazy.
It's New Year's Eve 1982 at the Palace Theater - run by legendary Max Wolfe. Max is planning a big concert to ring in 1983, and lines up a stellar list of muscial acts to play. But they have to get to the theater - fire marshal Conal O'Conal is prowling around trying to shut the show down - and evil Colin Beverly is trying to buy the theater so he can knock it down and put up his own rock arena. That's it for the story - but the movie is like a big live action cartoon with an incredible cast:
 
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
Allen Goorwitz (Mother Jugs & Speed)
Daniel Stern (Home Alone)
Gail Edwards (TV's It's A Living)
Miles Chapin (Pandemonium)
Ed Begley Jr. (Pineapple Express)
Stacey Nelkin (Halloween III: Season of the Witch)
Bill Henderson (Clue)
Lou Reed (singer - Take a Walk on the Wild Side)
Howard Kaylan (singer - The Turtles)
Lori Eastside (Fear City)
Lee Ving (Black Moon Rising and lead singer - Fear)
John Densmore (performer - The Doors)
Anna Bjorn (More American Graffiti)
Robert Picardo (TV's The Wonder Years and Star Trek: Voyager)
Bobby Sherman (Teen idol of the 60's)
Fabian Forte (Teen idol of the 60's)
Franklyn Ajaye (Convoy)
Dan Frischman (TV's Head of the Class)
Mary Woronov (Rock n Roll High School)
Paul Bartel (Rock n Roll High School)
Jackie Joseph (Little Shop of Horrors '60)
Dick Miller (Nearly every Roger Corman movie from the 50's through the 80's)

It's hard to find - as not only are there complicated music rights issues - but director Allan Arkush says the original sound elements have been damaged or lost - so this is not likely to ever get a DVD release. That makes me very sad. I do own the movie on VHS, and it has apparently been on Amazon Prime streaming - so it can be found... highly recommended for sure.


 
2.  The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

I love this big 70's disaster movie produced by Irwin Allen and directed by Ronald Neame. A terrific "all-star" cast is on a big boat - it's New Year's Eve and the final voyage of the cruise ship Poseidon - when a 90 foot tidal wave capsizes the tub, the survivors have to work their way up to the bottom of the boat for a chance at rescue. Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, and Roddy McDowall are some of the names in the cast - and it's a terrific piece of entertainment. Forget the remakes - there are two, believe it or not - and stick with the original.

3. New Year's Evil (1980)

I first saw this slasher flick on Elvira's Movie Macabre three or four years after it played theaters. She made mericiless fun of it - and the movie kind of deserves it - as it's chock full of weird and/or silly elements. On New Year's Eve TV personality Diane Sullivan is hosting a lengthy New Year's Punk and New Wave TV show - crossing midnight in four time zones. Then a caller to the show tells Diane he's going to kill someone at the stroke of each time zone's midnight, then finish his killing spree on the last midnight by killing Diane. One thing about that plan - and something the movie's trailer isn't able to make clear either - the killer isn't travelling to each time zone to kill - he's on the West Coast where Diane is - he's just knocking someone off at 9pm (midnight Eastern time),10pm (midnight Central time), 11pm (midnight Mountain time) and finally midnight West Coast time. It's a goofy movie - but well worth watching. It stars Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero herself!), Kip Niven, and Grant Cramer.



Alec gets Creative:

In honor of the start of the year 2015, I'm joining some other Film Bloggers for some fun.  We are all doing New Year's Eve/New Year's Day stuff like The Poseidon Adventure and others.  I've done most of the interesting stuff- like Terror Train and New Year's Evil- so I decided to get a little creative. 

Back in 2007, the success of Masters of Horror on Showtime led to two things: Fear Itself and Masters of Science-Fiction.  Both of these non-Cable Shows lasted more than a Season, but did produce some interesting stuff.  While neither show is remembered that well right now, we'll see if things change.  In the mean-time, let's take a look at Darren-Lynn Bousman's 'New Year's Day' Episode.  In it, a young woman wakes up on the beginning of a New Year to see just how bad things have become.  Who will live?  Who will die?  To find out, read on...


At around 4 am on New Year's Day, this young lady (the daughter of Greg Evigan) wakes up.  She hears glimpses of bad news, but only a little with the power out.  She sees blood on the hallways and...that can't be good.  As her bad morning unfolds, we get flashy flashbacks to the previous night.  She was at a Party (naturally) and she ran into some awkward company (read: her ex).


Speaking of awkward. the late Cory Monteith is here in one of his pre-Glee roles.  He's not bad here, really, but...can you blame me?  Ultimately, our heroine makes her way to her friend's house, but things get weird.  Why the gun?

As it turns out, she was infected from the get-go!  They just lied to us by only giving us her P.O.V.  Alright then.  The End.


Sadly, it is easier to see the problems here instead of the good points.  Let's begin with those though.  I liked the general idea of the Story and you do sort of feel for the heroine.  It is nothing ground-breaking, but it is solid.  Now here's where it all falls apart.  First- the constant mixing of Flashbacks.  Look- the day before is a bit important, but it gets almost equal time as the Horror of the Present.  The problem is that there is not enough build-up in these parts to make it worthwhile.  It just short-changes the Main Story.  

Secondly- the flashy Editing Techniques.  I don't dislike all of these modern Editing flourishes by any stretch of the imagination, but this one goes overkill on it.  Flashy strobe lights and super-quick cuts are par for the course here.  For me, they are just too damn big of a distraction and make the Story hard to follow.  If you like all that stuff, you won't have my issues.  This is obviously only one of the Episodes of Fear Itself, so I'm not exactly giving up on it just yet.  While there are no real losers here, there is one clear winner...


Hopefully your New Year's Day is better than her's.


6 comments:

  1. Congrats on hitting 1 million. This site is like a go to guide for recs for me and has been for a long time. I always check here to see your thoughts on movies I've watched or have been considering watching. Best horror site around

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You rock, man. Thanks for the kind words, highly appreciated!!

      Delete
  2. It's nice to see things come together.

    Cheap Plug: my 'New Year's Day' Review will also be up at 4:32 am on Jan 1. Why that time? It's when she wakes up that day in the Story- naturally!

    I'm already passed 1 million hits, but I'd still like more. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we did a great job, didn't we?

      Wel, the next goal can only be 10 millions ;)

      Delete

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